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Opinion Catching Up With Kay

Senator Kay HaganProtecting military families in tax reform

We have asked so much of our military servicemen and women, and they have bravely delivered after a decade of two wars. They take on the ultimate responsibility of protecting our nation, but they don’t do it alone. Family members of America’s military personnel are too often the unsung heroes of war, and they make their own unique sacrifices every day – enduring months apart from their deployed loved ones, establishing lives in new places when their spouse or parent is reassigned and dealing with the physical and emotional injuries caused by war. Yet too many military families struggle to make ends meet, especially veterans after military service.

As a member of the Armed Services Committee and a Senator from North Carolina, the most military friendly state in the nation, I am committed to honoring the service and sacrifice of not just our active duty soldiers and veterans, but the sacrifices of their families as well.

Currently, the Senate is working to reform the tax code, and I believe our military families must be protected in this process. Recently, I sent a letter along with nine of my colleagues to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee to bring attention to new research about active duty and veteran families.

This research showed that a large number of these families rely on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). According to an analysis of Census and IRS data, about 1.5 million – or one in four – current or former military families receive one or both of the credits. Of these families, 280,000 have a parent currently serving in the armed forces. These tax credits can mean real relief for struggling families, particularly those of enlisted soldiers.

The EITC and CTC keep more than 140,000 military families, with nearly 300,000 children, from falling below the poverty line. This extra money can help pay for school supplies, much needed car repairs and other expenses. And for the thousands of families still living below the poverty line, they rely on these credits to help pay for rent, food, gas and other essentials.

Particularly at a time when the General Assembly in North Carolina has ended the state-level earned income tax credit, military families in our state will already be feeling the pinch. A North Carolina Budget and Tax Center analysis showed that almost 64,000 military families in North Carolina benefit from the state earned income tax credit that was just eliminated. We can’t cut them off at the federal level as well and expect them to thrive.

Making sure the families of our active duty soldiers and veterans are given the tools to thrive is a top priority for me. I am committed to honoring their service and making sure we live up to our end of the bargain in the Senate by placing a priority on these tax credits that our military families rely on.

The members of America’s armed forces and their families sacrifice every day to keep our country safe, and we must do everything we can to support them as they continue to serve our nation.

Follow Senator Kay Hagan on Twitter @SenatorHagan, visit the Senator’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/senatorhagan or view videos on the Senator’s YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/senatorhagan.




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